Gardening – a Labor of Love…or Just Labor?

Gardening for many is a labor of love. All those hours spent weeding, pruning, watering, and fertilizing is worth it when your first spring bulb flowers, or your vegetable garden is ripe for the picking. Some don’t consider gardening work, but therapy – a way to relax and escape for a few hours a week. For others, however, gardening as another chore added to their already busy lives. If only there was a way to save some of those labor hours, but still reap the benefits of a healthy garden.

The following tips won’t make your gardening responsibilities disappear, but they will help to reduce the amount of time you have to spend in the yard.

1. Watering a large garden can take up at least 30 minutes or more of your day. If you’re living in an area with water restrictions, then your chore time is dictated by your municipality’s watering schedule, which isn’t always the most convenient. Invest in a drip irrigation system for your lawns and gardens. It’s a bit of an initial investment, but after a season of automatic, timed watering without dragging around heavy hoses, you’ll be glad you did. It’s also great if you go on holidays; you’ll appreciate not coming home to planters full of withering, dried up plants.

2. Mulch should become your new garden mantra. Generously spread it under shrubs, plants, small trees, and flowers. It will cut down enormously on watering and weeding. It also works great if you’re selling your home and you have to give your flower beds a quick face lift.

3. Gardening takes up twice the energy when you’re using tools that haven’t been maintained properly. Get a file and keep sharp edges on your shovels, edgers and clippers.

4. Weeding for ten minutes a few times a week can maintain a garden that may otherwise become unruly and demand hours of your attention. It also helps to catch the young weeds before they flower and spread even further. Some people do their best gardening during TV commercials. Generally they last at least 3 to 4 minutes, it’s just enough time to get outside do some quick deadheading or pruning. The best part, it keeps you out of the fridge and gives you a bit of exercise while you’re at it.

5. If you do set aside a long stretch of time on the weekend for gardening, split it up with plenty of rest time. Take Fido for a walk, go shopping, or surf the net.

6. You’ll be surprised at how much time is available during weekday mornings or after dinner. Sneaking in a few gardening sessions during these times frees up your weekends.

7. Make use of containers or raised beds for plants, flowers or vegetables – they cut down on weeds and watering.

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